A GROUP of chinchillas have been rescued from the cold after they were dumped in marshland near a church.

The baby animals were found by concerned ramblers walking in the Bowers Marsh near St Margaret’s Church, Bowers Gifford.


They alerted Bob Chouls who was cutting the church’s grass at the time but, without a container, he contacted pal Karen Watt for help.

Karen said: “Bob phoned me so I went down there with a dog carrier and found them all there just dumped in the grass.

“They were so beautiful but clearly very scared because they all stayed huddled together.

“I think they must have been around animals before because they didn’t mind my dog sniffing at them.”

Karen rang the RSPCA who were unable to help immediately so she took them to the South Essex Wildlife Hospital, in Orsett, for treatment.

She added: “They made sure they got health checks from the vets and then they will be putting them up for adoption to find them a new home.

“I think it’s just awful that someone would dump such beautiful creatures.

“There really is no excuse for it at all. If you’re capable of dumping them, you’re capable of dropping them off at the RSPCA or an animal hospital.

“The people at the hospital said it’s likely whoever dumped them had an adult male and female who mated and they just didn’t want the young ones but you don’t need to dump them do you? There’s just no excuse.”

Chinchillas are clean, quiet, odourless and attractive rodents that have been bred and farmed for their soft dense fur.

They are quite shy and are more appropriate as pets for adults and older children.

Typically, the average chinchilla can live for between ten and 20 years.

RSPCA animal collection officer Joe White said: “These poor chinchillas are not in a good way, but thankfully it seems they were found just in time and are now getting the treatment they need.

"It’s terrible to think somebody deliberately dumped these 11 little animals, leaving them to fend for themselves. They were really lucky to be found.

"Anything could have happened to them, especially the babies, whoever dumped them was hardly giving them a chance. They were really lucky to be found and we’re so grateful to the people who kept them safe and called us for help.

"We urge people to think carefully before taking on a pet and to do their research on the animal’s needs. Owning and caring for animals like this can be great fun and very rewarding, but they are still a responsibility.

"Sadly, we do see small pets like chinchillas, guinea pigs and hamsters regularly abandoned and left to fend for themselves. There is never an excuse to abandon an animal in this way and there is always help available for those who feel they are no longer coping with their pets."